custom icon in mozilla

I’ve noticed that in Mozilla (or Galeon) on Linux there are a small number of sites that have an icon next to the URL. Naturally, I wanted to join the elite few and spent the better part of an hour trying to find out how to accomplish this little web site trickery. I already knew about favicon.ico, having seen all the requests in my apache error logs but adding that file didn’t work and, which had the icon in Mozilla, didn’t have a favicon.ico file.

It took a lot longer than I had expected for me to find the answer, but I finally happened upon it in the release notes for Mozilla 0.9.6. To help others avoid the same hassle that I went through, here is what I found.

If you already have a favicon file, use the following to get it to show up in Mozilla or Galeon.

<link rel=”shortcut icon” type=”image/ico” href=”/favicon.ico”>

Most web sites cater to IE and if they want an icon, they probably already have a favicon.ico file. If that’s the case, there’s nothing left to do, but if you want to have something other than an .ico file (like a png) see the example below. Note that this will not work for the favorites list in IE.

<link rel=”icon” href=”/images/logo.png” type=”image/png”>

It’s so simple, I’m surprised more sites (like google, yahoo, dmoz and CNN) haven’t bothered to do it. I fear that Mozilla and Linux isn’t as popular as I had hoped, but I’m optimistic that they will soon start receiving the attention that IE currently enjoys.

I did a bit of Mozilla evangelism by sending emails to the sites I just mentioned, suggesting they add the tag. It will be interesting to see one, how many will add it and two, how long it takes. I would assume that with larger sites, a change to the front page, even a minor one, would have to be approved by several people. I’m guessing that if anyone listens to my suggestion, google will, but it will take a number of days, if not weeks for the addition to appear.

It was simple to share my suggestion with google, CNN and dmoz (Disclaimer: I’m an editor at dmoz so I used an internal form that gets higher priority, but this form was easy to find and would have gotten to the same people).

It was very hard to find a way to make the suggestion to Yahoo. On the other three sites, it only required 3 links from the main page to find contact information. On Yahoo I’ve topped 50 pages and have yet to find a suitable way to make a suggestion for the site in general. It doesn’t leave me with the impression that they’re anxious to get my feedback so I’ve given up.

The only thing I have left to do is replace the icons I used for a proof of concept with ones I actually want to represent the sites I run.


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  1. If you’re really interested in getting an icon up at ODP, you might send feedback to an individual who’s on staff, rather than the general address – even feedback from editors doesn’t get tended to much faster than usual stuff sent to the catchall staff address.

    Comment by Meredith on October 3, 2002 @ 12:00 am
  2. Thank you for this post!!

    Comment by John on February 17, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

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